US President Donald Trump on Thursday said any move on illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children would have to be tied to security, disputing Democratic congressional leaders who said they had reached a deal with him on the issue.
“No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote,” Mr Trump wrote in one of a series of posts on Twitter.
He was referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by former President Barack Obama.
Mr Trump also stood by his insistence there would be a wall built along the US border with Mexico, which Democrats have long said is a non-starter and insisted was left out of the tentative deal.
“The Wall (on the US-Mexico border), which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built,” Mr Trump also wrote.
Following a dinner with Mr Trump at the White House, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said the plan would combine the deportation protections with added resources to bolster security at the US-Mexico border.
“We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a statement.
The White House disputed that assessment.
While the Democrats said the deal wouldn’t include funding for Trump’s fortified border “wall,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there was no such agreement on that item.
“While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” Sanders said on Twitter on Wednesday night.
While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.
The White House, through an aide, said only that the President had a “constructive working dinner” with the two Democrats that addressed the plight of the young immigrants and a host of other issues, including tax reform, border security and trade. Another person at the dinner also said Mr Trump didn’t agree to exclude the border wall from the legislation.
White House chief of staff John Kelly, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, budget director Mick Mulvaney and legislative affairs director Marc Short also attended the dinner.
Still, Mr Trump on Thursday appeared to acknowledge the complexity of handing the issue of the immigrant children dubbed Dreamers.
A mainstay of his 2016 presidential campaign was a promise to build a wall along the southern US border aimed at keeping immigrants and drugs out. He had said Mexico would pay for it but has since requested money from the US Congress.
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” Trump wrote in another tweet.